1959 Miss Toni Fisher – The Big Hurt

1959 Miss Toni Fisher – The Big Hurt

Toni Fisher was born in Los Angeles and first achieved notoriety with a song written for her by her manager, Wayne Shanklin. Wayne had written the song Chanson D’Amour, which became a top ten hit in 1958. He had Toni record The Big Hurt in 1959, and the song is notable because of a production mistake that turned out to be exciting.

Larry Levine engineered the mixing of the recording, and he caused the phasing sound on the record. He accidentally mixed the stereo and mono recordings together, but did so slightly out of sync. Les Paul had experimented with the creation of similar sounds on recordings in the late forties and early fifties, but Toni’s recording was the first hit that used the effect.

Larry went on to work with Phil Spector and helped him implement the Wall Of Sound that he became famous for.

At the time, everybody probably referred to the effect on the record as phasing. John Lennon popularized a new term for the effect: flanging. John grew tired of having to record the same vocals multiple times to produce double tracking on recordings for the Beatles, and asked George Martin if he had a simpler way to create double tracking. One engineer at the Abbey Road studio, Ken Townsend, devised a way to accomplish artificial double tracking (ADT).

When John asked George how it worked, he got a nonsensical explanation: “Now listen, it’s very simple. We take the original image and we split it through a double vibrocated sploshing flange with double negative feedback.” John began referring to the process as flanging, and the term is still in use today. The process got used initially on the song Tomorrow Never Knows and apparently became applied to nearly every song on the Beatle album Revolver.

Toni kept recording into the mid-sixties but only reached the top forty one more time. Her 1962 single West of the Wall dealt with the topical situation related to the Russian-built Berlin Wall. It reached #37 on the Hot 100.

Toni’s career faded after that release. She died from a heart attack in 1999.


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